Oh, how the mighty have fallen. And risen again. And fallen again.
Kimbrel, once viewed as the game's best relief pitcher, has had a relatively rough go of it in recent years. The former relief ace had one of the best nine-year stretches to start a career this game has ever seen, posting a combined 1.91 ERA and 333 saves across 542 appearances. In that time, he struck out a ridiculous 868 batters in just 532 innings of work.
The right-hander had one heck of a regression in 2019 on the Cubs, and didn't really find himself again until the first half of 2021. After posting a 0.49 ERA (that's two earned runs in 36.2 innings) across 39 appearances, Kimbrel went from the Cubs to the White Sox and once again imploded on the mound.
Last year, the eight-time All-Star Game participant shored up the back end of the Dodgers' bullpen. In 63 appearances, he saved 22 games, had a 3.75 ERA and 110 ERA+ and had a 0.6 HR/9, his best since 2014.
Kimbrel rode this performance to another guaranteed contract, this one coming in the form of a one-year, $10M deal from the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 2023 season is still young, but the 34-year-old seems to have reverted back to his 2019-2020 ways. In nine appearances and eight innings, he has allowed five earned runs on eight hits already. He has also walked six batters, which puts his BB/9 at 6.8, the highest it's been in years.